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Mask

African Art

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Mask

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Aduma Artist, Gabon

Date

Late nineteenth–early twentieth century

Medium

Wood and paint

Accession #

2004.147

Dimensions

10 1/2 inches

Location

Currently Not on View

Description

With its smooth, dark tones, the flat plane of this mask’s face contrasts dramatically with the curved dome of its forehead, highlighted in red and white. Broad perpendicular planes outline the mask’s face, nose, and brow, creating sharp angles at every edge. Aduma masks first entered European collections toward the end of the nineteenth century. Their ingenious reduction of human anatomy to geometric forms was prescient, auguring the artistic innovations of European modernism. Aduma masks are relatively rare in museum and private collections and little is known about their original functions, apart from the suggestion that they once performed during initiation ceremonies.

Credit

Fred and Rita Richman Collection

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